Yep, you read that right. Don Imus is coming back to broadcast radio as of December 3, 2007, and on the nation's biggest radio station, WABC out of New York City. Fans are excited, foes are silent, and Media Matters and Henry Waxman's Senate folks will have something to do.
I'm of two minds on Imus's return. On the one hand, I feel strongly that he should have never been forced off the radio in the first place. Behind all the bluster about the "nappy-headed hos" comment was the machinations of race-hustlers who care more about getting paid then fighting racism. The Rutgers women's basketball team played a role in the plan by claiming to be victims. I said it then and I'll say it now: If these women were so scarred by the comments of Don Imus, the real world will eat them alive. Was the comment in good taste? No. Was it worth getting Imus fired? Nope. And was it worth demeaning the incredible season the Rutgers women's basketball team had just to get on television and maybe make some money off the deal? Absolutely not.
On the other side, Imus's return may also signal a return to something I dislike as much as the aforementioned race hustlers: the coarsening of the culture. Imus's gimmick is that he is edgy and that you never know what he'll say at any given moment. He's done that throughout his career and it's worked well for him, but does it enhance the culture in some way? Not from where I sit. Imus's shtick doesn't elevate, inspire, or motivate in any way. As much of a free speech advocate as I am, I also recognize the power of words and do my best to use my words carefully. The First Amendment gives us the right to free speech, but it also gives us the duty to use that right responsibly. Imus, unfortunately, doesn't.
Although Imus getting fired was a travesty, his return may not be the best thing for the country, either. Fortunately, we have the power to alter the impact of Imus's return with a simple act.
Turn off the radio if he offends.